New York Yankees President Says City Needs Mobile Sports Betting, More Casinos

Posted on: December 6, 2020, 11:55h. 

Last updated on: December 7, 2020, 06:41h.

New York Yankees Team President Randy Levine wants to see expanded gaming, including mobile sports betting, in the Big Apple to help the economy recover from COVID-19.

New York City casinos
Resorts World Casino New York City, the city’s only casino, should have some competition, New York Yankees President Randy Levin said in a recent opinion column. He wants New York state government leaders to allow more casinos and mobile sports betting to revive the city’s struggling economy as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image: JCJ Architecture)

Levine, who once served as the city’s deputy mayor for economic development under Rudy Giuliani, offered his advice in a guest column for Empire Report, an online news site. He noted a mayoral election will take place in 11 months and offered some suggestions to jump-start the economy.

That’s where mobile sports betting and casinos come into play.

Finally, the City needs the State’s help to push for and pass laws that other states are already using to pay for budget shortfalls,” Levine wrote. “These include Mobile Sports Betting and, possibly, Marijuana use laws. Since New Jersey has already passed both, the spillover has already impacted New York… Mobile Sports Betting can also help the restaurant and hospitality industry generate revenues.”

New Jersey has established itself as the leading sports betting market in the United States, and New York City is a major reason for that. New Jersey reported a record-breaking $803.1 million handle in October. Most analysts believe New York City bettors contribute about 25 percent of that.

New York has legalized sports betting, but has limited it to sportsbooks at upstate and tribal casinos.

Adding casinos in Gotham would be among other “revenue-producing initiatives,” he opined, noting the gaming venues would create sorely needed jobs.

New York State, City Need Billions to Recover

Sports betting and expanded gaming are on the table because New York City and the state itself face multi-billion dollar budget deficits over the next couple years. Gaming revenues would not fill either, but they could help the state limit the amount of tax increases or funding cuts to programs needed to reconcile the spending plans.

For the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has forecast the state needs $30 billion over the next two years. Cuomo, who blames the federal government for New York’s COVID predicament, has pushed for the federal government to make the state whole, rather than lobby lawmakers for new sources of revenue.

For New York City, it’s a $9 billion hole for the current fiscal year. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is serving in his last term as the city’s leader, has threatened to reduce the city government’s workforce if it can’t fill the deficit.

Currently, New York has a moratorium on issuing casino licenses in New York City, as part of an agreement to give the four upstate resorts a head start. However, those properties struggled to meet expectations even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They were also among the last businesses Cuomo allowed to reopen in the state. Casinos, which resumed limited operations in September, were shut down for nearly six months because of the pandemic.

Levine isn’t the only one pushing for the state to add casinos. Former Gov. David Paterson said last month in an op-ed in the Albany Times-Union that issuing licenses to three downstate casinos could bring an immediate $1.5 billion to state coffers.

Resorts World Casino Tops $3B in New York Taxes

New York City currently has one casino. The Resorts World Casino New York City is located at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Even amid the pandemic, Resorts World owner Genting Group has announced plans to expand the facility, which include a $400 million, four-star hotel.

With more than 6,000 slot machines and electronic table games, the casino bills itself as the state’s largest taxpayer. Last week, it announced that it has topped the $3 billion mark in state tax revenue, accomplishing that feat in just nine years.

“As New York now begins its recovery, we are proud to continue to provide critical support so that kids across the state have access to a higher-quality education, and we are ready to step up and elevate that support in both the short- and long-term for the state,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Genting Americas East.